Madrid, Spain | XINHUA | FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman on Monday left striker Leo Messi and midfielder Frenkie de Jong out of his squad for Tuesday’s Champions League tie away to Dynamo Kiev.
Barca travel to Kiev with three wins from their three group games in the competition, but in poor domestic form, with only 11 points from eight games following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid.
Koeman is already without the injured Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti and he has called B-team players Oscar Mingueza, Matheus and Konrad de la Fuente into his squad, while Messi and De Jong will remain in Barcelona.
“We have decided to not take Messi and De Jong, because we are in quite a comfortable position in the Champions League and they need a rest. It is the moment to rest,” said Koeman.
The coach added that he was “not going to risk” Araujo, who is close to returning from a muscle injury he picked up against Juventus in October. “We have very few central defenders and we can’t risk him,” explained the coach, adding Umtiti could be available in “around two weeks.”
Barca’s next game is at home to Osasuna on Saturday, before travelling to face Hungarian side Ferencvaros on December 2nd and Cadiz three days later.